Vancouver Grizzlies

Vancouver Grizzlies  

Grizzlies Timeline


Vancouver Grizzlies Team Formation

The only former professional basketball team to play in Canada was the Toronto Huskies, who played a single season in 1946 - 1947 before folding. Attempts had been made by Nelson Skalbania, a local entrepreneur, to get an NBA franchise to Vancouver in the 1980s, but had failed. Arthur Griffiths, owner of the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL) through Northwest Sports Enterprises, announced in February 1993 that he hoped to bring an NBA franchise to Vancouver. Griffiths was developing a privately owned 20,000-seat arena for the Canucks in downtown Vancouver, which was scheduled for completion for the 1995–96 season. The Toronto Raptors were awarded an expansion franchise for that season on 30 September 1993. On 14 February 1994, the NBA's Expansion Committee gave a preliminary approval for Vancouver, with full approval being granted by the Board of Governors on 27 April. Both franchises paid a fee of US$125 million, up from $32.5 million paid during the 1988 - 1989 expansion. The Grizzlies became the NBA's 29th franchise.

Sold to Michael Heisley

Instead, John McCaw sold the team to Chicago-based Michael Heisley for US$160 million. At the time he stated that he intended to keep the team in Vancouver, but immediately started a process to find a suitable relocation city in the US. Cities considered for relocation of the team included Memphis, Nashville, Las Vegas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Anaheim, San Diego, Buffalo and Louisville. Despite the need for the construction of a new venue to house the team on a permanent basis, Memphis was announced as the recipient city, pending league approval on 26 March 2001. The NBA Board of Governors approved the move on 4 July 2001.

Move to Memphis

The Vancouver Grizzlies relocation to Memphis was a successful effort by the ownership group of the Vancouver Grizzlies to move the basketball team from the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia, to the U.S. city of Memphis, Tennessee. The team began play as the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2001 - 2002 season. It was the first of three National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise moves between 2001 and 2008, and the third of four major league teams to relocate from Canada to the United States between 1995 and 2005.

Pyramid Arena

In their first three seasons in Memphis, the Grizzlies played their home games at the Pyramid Arena. The Memphis Pyramid, initially known as the Great American Pyramid, formerly referred to as the Pyramid Arena and locally referred to as The Pyramid, was originally built as a 20,142-seat arena located in downtown Memphis at the banks of the Mississippi River.

On the Pyramid's opening night, the arena floor flooded because of inadequate drainage pumps, and the entire arena began to flood causing stage hands to sandbag the entire perimeter to preserve the electrical runs under the stage. The arena was also assumed to be NBA ready; however, when the Memphis Grizzlies came to town, it was discovered that the cost of upgrading to NBA standards made it more practical to build an arena tailored specifically for the NBA.

FedExForum Opens

FedExForum is an arena located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. It is the home of the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA, whom previously played home games at the Pyramid Arena. The arena officially opened in September 2004 after much debate and also a derecho wind storm on July 22, 2003 that nearly brought down the cranes that were building it near the famed Beale Street. It was built at a cost of $250 million and is owned by the City of Memphis; naming rights were purchased by one of Memphis' most well-known businesses, FedEx, for $92 million. FedExForum was financed using $250 million of public bonds, which were issued by the Memphis Public Building Authority (PBA).

Robert Pera New Owner

On June 11, 2012, sources told that Michael Heisley has an agreement in principle to sell the Memphis Grizzlies to communications technology magnate Robert Pera, who at 34 has a spot on Forbes' list of the 10 youngest billionaires in the world. The official sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to Pera was approved on October 25, 2012. Building on the successes of his predecessor, Michael Heisley, Pera has made significant investments into the Grizzlies, bolstering its business and basketball operations teams and transforming the Grizzlies into a world class organization.

Grizzlies Primary Logo History Grizzlies Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

Vancouver - Memphis

Grizzlies - When Vancouver was awarded an expansion franchise in 1994 to begin play the following season, the team's owners had tentative plans to name the team the Mounties. The Royal Mounted Canadian Police and fans alike objected, so team officials resumed their search for a name. The local newspaper sponsored a name-the-team contest, which club officials monitored before choosing Grizzlies, an indigenous species to the area, over Ravens.

2004 - present
Pyramid Arena
2001 - 2004

General Motors Place 
1995 - 2001

Robert J. Pera
2012 - present
Michael Heisley
2000 - 2012
Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment
1995 - 2000

Established: 1995

League History:
National Basketball Association 
1995 - present

Team History:
Memphis Grizzlies
2001 - present
Vancouver Grizzlies 
1995 - 2001

NBA Championships: 0

Retired Numbers:

  *Red is this team's history

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